Resting laptop on lap may damage skin forever,says study

Resting laptop on lap may damage skin forever,says study

Placing laptops next to skin for long periods of time can lead to toasted skin syndrome

Beware,if you are working on your laptop for hours by placing it on your legs,it may damage your skin permanently,a new study has claimed.

The Swiss study found that placing the devices next to skin for long periods of time can lead to “toasted skin syndrome” — an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure,The Telegraph reported.

Citing a case-study,the researchers said a 12-year-old boy developed a sponge-patterned skin discolouration on his left thigh after playing computer games a few hours daily for several months.

“He recognised that the laptop got hot on the left side; however,regardless of that,he did not change its position,” they reported in the journal Pediatrics. Another case,they cited,involved a Virginia law student who sought treatment for the mottled discolouration on her leg in 2007.


Dr Kimberley Salkey,who treated the young woman,couldn’t work out the source of the problem until she learned the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 52 degrees Celsius.

That case is one of 10 laptop-related cases reported in medical journals in the past six years. According to the researchers,the condition also can be caused by overuse of heating pads and other heat sources that usually aren’t hot enough to cause burns.

“It’s generally harmless but can cause permanent skin darkening,” said Dr Andreas Arnold and Peter Itin who carried out the study at the University Hospital Basel. “In very rare cases,it can cause damage leading to skin cancers,”they said.

Although the researchers did not cite any skin cancer cases linked to laptop use,they suggested that laptop users should place a carrying case or other heat shield under the device if they have to hold it on their lap.

Another consequence of lap computer use is a possibility of reduced fertility in men. Several years ago,a medical report found men who used laptops had elevated scrotum temperatures which can decrease sperm production.

Manufacturers including Apple,Hewlett Packard and Dell warn in user manuals against placing laptops on laps or exposed skin for extended periods.